The beauty of a superb piece of writing (as a gorgeous musical composition) is what is left out–the empty spaces.  A writer does not want to confuse the writer (???) with clutter.  Every thing that is not necessary has been taken out.

You want every word, every phrase, every sentence and paragraph to matter.  I always said that an excellent editor is worth their weight in gold.  It is very difficult for the writer to see their piece objectively.

You always need someone from the outside who you trust for their advice on your written piece.  Sure you need to do everything you can before you submit your piece to someone else.

Nevertheless, at some point you need to present your piece to someone else for their opinion.  You have to be very careful who you choose and when to do this.  You have given your piece your all.

Now it is time to let someone else read it.  Everything that gets in the way has to be taken out or changed.  You want every word to count.  You can not do this by yourself.

You always need a mission to write and at the same time you must have an imaginary audience.  It is that audience which gives your writing focus.  It is striving to reach them which will give you the words you need to complete your mission.

The words necessary to reach your audience will come if you know why you are writing.  You may not know how to get there but the words will materialize as you make your journey.

Your only job when you are complete with this leg of the journey is not to confuse the reader and take out everything that gets in the way.  If you can still delete your passage and your writing stands it was not necessary.

You always need a mission to write and that always comes first.  Know why you are writing.  And to whom.  The words always follow.  They do not come first but are always last.  Start with your mission.

You do not need special equipment to write (nor a degree) just a pen or pencil that writes and some paper.

You can write anywhere or on anything available.  No special journal or special places.  Anywhere.  No excuses.  All those specials conditions just get in the way.

I always carry two Bic pens on me (in case one peters out).  They are cheap.  No special or favorite pen.  I write in blank books.  They are plain notebooks.

I try to get different colored ones and always keep the most recent in the same place.  But if my “muse” is telling me to write and I am not near my journal I grab the nearest paper within reach whatever it is wherever it is.

I am not bound by my journals.  Again, you do not need special equipment to write.  No special degrees.  Just do it.  Everything else is excuses.

Writing is foremost communication. You may be writing to an invisible audience. And you may not even be aware of your audience but it is there.

Writing is one type of communication. It is not publishing although you may seek that but never lose sight of the fact you are “reaching out” to someone.

Yes, it is a feather in your cap when someone wants to publish something you have written. Never lose sight you have to write and it may be in your case a major way you communicate with others.

The more personal you can be the more others can relate to your struggles. Your writing can’t, simply, be generic. Everyone has struggles and others are interested in yours whether you choose to write fiction or non-fiction. It always has to ring true.

As far as I am concerned fiction is non-fiction disguised. It may not be autobiographical but nevertheless the writer has to delve deeply in their own psyche for their writing to be authentic. And it is always communication. No matter who the audience is. You always have one.

I can’t be fifteen seconds or more from a pen that writes. My wife likes click pens. The only trouble with them half the time or more they do not work (or are “unstable”, my words).

I spent fifteen minutes or more gathering all my pens in the house that I could find and sorting them.  I pulled out the Bic pens, which are usually reliable. Then I put a collection of them in three different spots in the house.

One is now in my office, one in the living room and another near the computer. Now I know exactly where they are. I am no more than a few seconds from any of them in the house.

Of late, I was getting a bit frustrated finding a pen that works.  This was driving me a little crazy–finding a pen that writes immediately.

Now I can sleep more soundly. I know exactly where all my Bic pens are. They usually do not disappoint me. And if they do, I just throw them away. They are cheap.

They almost did not make it on time:  She had gotten in the wrong lane and drove four miles unnecessarily.  They finally got to the carnival and she bought her excited kid a balloon.  The helium balloon was silver and quickly became a refugee.  It escaped her child’s grasp when she was jostled in a crowd.  The four year old was crying so hard she was trembling.  There would be hell to pay.  Her mother had been bamboozled and hounded by a salesperson who had tenaciously assured her, her kid would not lose the antler shaped balloon if she tied it to her pinkie.  Soon the balloon soared in the sky quickly became ant like in the sky.

Her Mom complained of her loss to that pretentious salesman stationed at his desk in his cranberry velvet suit.  He was the quintessential quick talker who knew how sacred her kid’s balloon was.  He explained to the bawling child the synchronicity of all balloons.  Of course not in those words, but said all balloons were born in the sky and when they were released they returned home.  He gave the child a torn velvet clothed doll to calm her down.

The kid left him clutching her doll tightly to her chest.  She had quite an adventure today.

I write only non-fiction.  At least I call it that.  I have not been able to write fiction.  In fact, the prospect of attempting that has me terrified.

I know a fellow writer who has the opposite problem:  she is terrified of writing non-fiction.  I find that interesting.

There are authors I have seen who do both–write non-fiction as well as fiction.  To me that is also interesting.  I wonder what percent of authors can do both.  I really have no idea.

It would be interesting to me to explore that.  My mind just rebels every time I even consider writing fiction.

Should I just accept that?  Or should I explore further if I am able to compose fiction or just leave it at that:  I only write non-fiction and that is okay.

Writing is not an end point but a journey.  You never really arrive.  Writing is a process.  Someone called my short article on journal keeping (which can be found on a ‘blurb’.

That might be but it took me a lifetime to write.  Several decades of journal keeping.  My wife also did a masterful job of editing it.

I am well aware I will never write the great American novel.  I simply am not motivated that way.  I simply want to write something and get out as quickly as possible.  I am conscious of that.  I strive for simplicity and clarity.  I accepted that a long time ago.

The longer pieces I have written in my lifetime were very difficult for me to do.  I have written only a few short, short stories.  I find it interesting that a fellow writer who has the opposite problem — keeping the word count down — recommended that on some longer pieces she wanted to hear more detail.

Maybe I need to take her advice.  It certainly would stretch me.  There really is no point in which you have arrived as a writer although you might consider publication of a book one.

At every point you write, you whole past is impacting your writing.  Writing is always a process and journey.  Otherwise you are constantly repeat (constantly repeat (or) are constantly repeating) yourself.

A sense of wonder has to fuel your writing.  You have to allow yourself to be surprised by the unexpected and unknown.  And then be driven to write about your discoveries.

Writing about what you see and seeking to bridge the unknown and mystery is what fuels your writing.  Trying to fathom what you do not understand and stretching yourself in the process forces growth.

Underlying all this is your sense of wonder.  It comes and goes for most people.  And you can’t be overly concerned if life appears static and dull.  It will change again when you least expect it to.

You have to pay attention within and without.  And have the patience to note the simple things occurring around you.  Life is composed of many simple things.  And miracles always occur around you.

You just have to pay attention.  Your sense of wonder kindles your imagination and fuels your writing.  It gives it power.

Simplicity and clarity and honesty go hand and hand in writing.  And it always has to be personal–something your reader can grab, identify with–the more honest the better.

Realize your personality always comes through your writing.  You can’t really hide who you are.  It is really impossible to write anything without revealing you anyway.

I made a decision a long time ago.  I had to strive for simplicity and clarity and honesty if I were to be any good as a writer.

You can not write with clarity if you are not open.  And then again striving for simplicity and clarity forces you to remain as open as you can.

Readers usually appreciate honesty.  And simplicity and clarity and honesty go hand and hand so always strive for those qualities.

Writing is a renewable resource but first you have to tend to yourself.  Let’s compare writing to a forest.  If you cut down all the trees and do not replant, the forest is gone.

If you want to write, you have to do simple things like taking proper care of yourself.  Yes, even things like eating and sleeping right.  You can get away with it for awhile but not forever.

You have to order your life a certain way.  I can’t tell you how.  You have to figure out what works for you.  You will never run out of ideas and the words to express them.

Of course, you have to regularly sit down and write.  There is no way to get around that.  Otherwise the window of opportunity is gone.  And you can never go back but forward.

You also have to mull things over and permit yourself to do nothing occasionally or something totally unrelated to your writing.

Some of this requires empty spaces.  Your brain is always working even when you are not aware of it.  If you don’t do this, your words will peter out eventually.

Writing is only the tip of the iceberg.  You simply pick it up at some point and record that which is yours.  You live to write not write to live.  If you treat yourself right, you will never run out of ideas.

When I Read A Poem…

Author: siggy

When I read a poem of mine in public, I have the audience for the first ten seconds.  If I don’t capture their attention right away, I lose them so the beginnings of my poems have to be interesting and are important.  I do not read a poem in public if there is any part of it I am not satisfied with.  I can’t read the poem confidently and with the right inflections and feelings if I have any doubts concerning the poem.  I have to believe in the whole package, that the poem was put together well.  So with any piece of writing:  you can’t have any major doubts of it, if you want to submit it for publication.  It has to be as good as you can get it.